The Work of Amber delaine: Visualizing Birth Through Color
Book Cover, A Birth Affirmation Coloring Book (Copyright 2015, Amber delaine. All Rights Reserved)
Amber delaine’s Birth Affirmation Coloring Book provides women with a creative means for visualizing birth: adding color to images of pregnant and birthing bodies. Filling form with color is a method used in meditation for the mind and body, and there are various coloring books available within the mindful meditation community. These usually focus on coloring mandalas or other designs. National Public Radio recently did a story on coloring books for adults, pointing to the growing interest among adults in using coloring books as a soothing way to de-stress (NPR report available here: Artist Goes Outside The Lines With Coloring Books For Grown-Ups). With the meditative needs of pregnant women in mind, delaine offers a book of images that focus exclusively on the pregnant body as it is opening and preparing for birth.
In our correspondences, delaine has described some of the ways in which pregnant women use color, art, objects, and birth affirmations to help them as they prepare for birth. Her descriptions point to the fascinating way in which contemporary women are treating birth as a rite of passage in a sacred way, and her words may help other women as they prepare for labor and birth,
There are many women in my home birth groups who collect their favorite birth affirmations and then write them down on cards to hang on the walls in their birth space for labor. One woman in our group asked to see all of ours and everyone posted photos. Some women used colorful markers and made pictures. Other mothers said that they were sorry that theirs were just plain cards, that they were not “artistic” at all. This made me think of creating something for women who wanted beautiful birth affirmations but didn’t particularly like drawing. Coloring is very meditative and I thought that it would be healing and empowering for women to color the pictures during pregnancy to prepare themselves for their births. The pictures can be framed or just hung on a wall. They can be placed on a birth altar or they can be hung from a string like a bunting. One woman purchased a coloring book from me to have all of the women at her mother blessing sign. Each page is blank, so there is room behind them or on the inside covers to offer words of advice or blessing.
Amber delaine is a writer, artist, seamstress, and photographer. Devoted to mothering, breastfeeding and midwifery studies, she lives in Hawaii with her husband and two children. Amber may be reached through her blog. Her work, including Soften, Open, Release – A Coloring Book of Birth Affirmations, is available through her Etsy shop.